Imagine Group and Evergreen Real Estate Group have broken ground on Auburn Gresham Apartments, a fully affordable, 58-unit multifamily property on the far South Side of Chicago. The development team expects to wrap up construction work on the $43 million project within 18 months.

The project will take advantage of several financial incentives. The City of Chicago is providing $18 million in tax increment financing, plus an additional $18 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Additionally, the development benefits from a $2.5 million HOME loan through HUD, as well as a land write-down of $180,000.

Changes in Development

Initially proposed as a single building last year, the project design shifted after pushback from members of the local community. The new design calls for two buildings on neighboring parcels.

The largest structure, to be constructed at 757 W. 79th St., will house 30 units across five stories, with floorplans ranging from one to three bedrooms. The building will also feature a 3,300-square-foot retail component to be occupied by KLEO Community Center and The Park Supper Club.

The second building, located on the original development site at 838 W. 79th St., will rise three stories and have 28 units. AYO Foods, a West African food producer, will occupy 5,200 square feet of commercial space within the structure.

How Chicago Is Tackling Affordability Issues

Rental rates across the two buildings will range from $925 to $1,250 per month, a press release from the City of Chicago stated. For context, a June report from Yardi Matrix shows rents ticked up significantly earlier in the year, with the metro average around $1,750 per month in April. Lower-end rental rates climbed to $1,416.

Chicago needs about 120,000 affordable units, according to the city's Department of Housing cited by the Chicago Tribune. The city government has begun moving forward with INVEST South/West, a program targeting 10 neighborhoods outside the urban core, and Auburn Gresham falls under this initiative.

The program encompasses multifamily developments slated to break ground later this year, as well. These projects are located in Englewood, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, and Austin.